April 25, 2011- The violence in Syria is starting to increase as the number of deaths are increasing, 120 since last Friday, along with the disappearances of dissident figures. President Basher al-Assad, of Syria, has ruled for years as the forward looking leader with youth in an area where most nations are run by old autocrats. Many have thought he would reform the inherited police state that his father left to him.
With the way the tide is turning in this region of the world, his time may be running out. His harsh crackdown on protests has received much criticism and international pressure is starting to mount. Many say he can still succeed and not lose his power and even quell the unrest, but that would mean confronting his own; those that control the security of the small nation and want to continue with the violent crackdown.
Signals are mixed as to which way he will turn; continue the hard line oppressive regime or use reforms and try and give back to the people some of the rights that they justly deserve. Last week he lifted the draconian emergency powers that had been in place for years, but then there were hints of even harsher repression on the horizon. Only he and his closest advisors know where he will lean.
More so than any other country in the region, the consequences as a result of his decisions could be tremendous. There are many minority religious and ethnic groups in the country and a change in power after 40 years could cause brutal fighting and struggles for power, eventually even spilling over into neighboring countries. These next days are both critical for the future of Syria and the region.